Today, API testing is a critical component of the overall testing checklist that enterprises must consider while formulating test strategies for their digital applications. However, many enterprises don’t have a robust API testing strategy as they may be unaware of the impact API makes. This is especially true for the Representational State Transfer or REST category, which is one of the most dominant API architectures. Most modern web applications and new-age internet services leverage the power of REST APIs.
What is API testing?
If you were to ask any CIO or CTO of any digitally successful business about their core assets for success, then API would be one of the top choices. The explosive growth of the digital economy around us owes a good amount of credit to APIs.
Different tech teams within businesses, as well as digital service providers, create APIs.
- These APIs enable seamless interoperability and information exchange between multiple digital applications. These APIs can also be leveraged within multiple functional units in a single large application.
- They allow the extension of the digital capability across a range of different business functions simply via a plug-and-play model.
- Traditionally, enterprises had to build even the smallest of functionality repeatedly across multiple applications or functions. With the advent of the API culture, core digital functionality can be created only once and shared between different departmental modules or applications.
This is why API testing is important, as APIs are at the heart of a modern digital ecosystem.
API testing deals with end-to-end testing of APIs to ensure their proper functioning and objective realization. Discovering defects, eliminating vulnerabilities, and preventing disruptions to all dependent digital services is the primary objective of any API testing strategy.
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Why is API testing important?
We have seen how APIs play a crucial role in connecting different digital components within a modern enterprise technology landscape. It is an endpoint that enables several dependent modules or applications, or services to talk to each other and ensure seamless interoperability.
With so much dependency on APIs to enable digital success, the need to ensure the proper functioning and performance of APIs is critical. Therefore, API testing gains significant importance while preparing the overall test strategy for an enterprise’s digital ecosystem.
For example, consider the case of an eCommerce website similar to the scale of Amazon. As a best practice, most eCommerce websites maintain payments as a separate module or service. It then handles requests from the core eCommerce engine after the checkout process. APIs are the backbone of managing and processing requests like these. Imagine the scenario when the payment module has a problem in its API. The resultant disruption can create havoc for the online retailer. The module significantly impacts the payment experience, which is critical for their business lifecycle. The villain here is the failure to identify the bug or defect in the API causing the disruption. This is where API testing becomes a core strategic asset.
The top 3 best practices in REST API testing
Now you have an idea of why REST API testing is important. So, the next thing to do is to be aware of the best practices to execute REST API Tests. While building your testing checklist, the following tips must be a foundation.
Begin with sanity and smoke checks
The easiest identifier for any problem in an API is to see if it meets its key functionality, i.e., inter-service messaging. A simple API call can be validated to see if the APIs code and workflow is working fine. By making use of a smoke test, developers have an easy and fast way to know whether critical requirements of an API have been realized and if the API is working properly. A typical sanity check would involve testing the API to see whether it responds to API calls. It would then check the reaction of the API for multiple yet regular volumes of test data and evaluate interaction behavior with other APIs and services.
Do not ignore security
We have already mentioned why APIs are the heart of the digital economy. Hence, it is the likely target for cybercriminals and fraudsters that attempt to jeopardize enterprise applications and ultimately impact the end consumers.
In the era of GDPR, HIPAA, and similar regulations across different parts of the world, enterprises must not take security aspects liberally. APIs, being a critical pillar of digital transformation, need extra care and protection. Hence, performing security testing of APIs is a core responsibility that enterprise leaders must address.
It is important to eliminate loose borders, unguarded interfaces, and unchecked data transfers within an API-driven technology landscape. Enterprises need to focus on encrypting data passing via APIs. They must ensure that APIs are guarded against suspicious activities and intrusions. Security testing needs to be executed strategically to ensure that all protective measures work as per their intended objectives.
As with any other type of end-to-end testing, it is possible to make the API testing much more resilient with automation. It is also possible that manual efforts are bias. This may result in missing out on core components of the API. By using automation, a clear and unbiased data-driven testing effort can be brought into your API testing strategy and seamlessly executed.
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How to drive better results from REST API tests?
By following the best practices outlined here, there can be considerable progress in making REST API tests more reliant and aligned with the needs of today’s digital landscape. However, to extract the maximum value from your investments in API testing, it is important to bring in the right tools and platforms that can assist in end-to-end test management and execution.
Whether it is automation or efficiency improvement, test automation tools bring a different dimension of surety for the API testing strategy. ACCELQ is an innovative platform that seamlessly connects to all your testing needs. Using ACCELQ’s Automate API, enterprises can design, automate, execute, and track API regression test plans.